Emergency planning for carers and Herbert Protocol

Why it's important to put together in advance a Family Carer Emergency Plan, and how the Herbert Protocol supports those at risk of getting lost.

One of the most helpful things you can do as a carer is to create a Family Carers Emergency Plan which sets out in advance what needs to happen to the person you care for in an emergency if you are unable to continuing providing care.

Additionally, for carers of people who may be at risk of going missing (e.g. due to a mental health, learning disability or dementia), it is useful to collate key information about the person in advance, which can be given to the Police immediately in the event of them going missing, to save valuable time. This is referred to as the Herbert Protocol.

What is a Family Carer Emergency Plan?

A Family Carer Emergency Plan is a plan that sets out what needs to happen to the person you care for in the case of an emergency.

By completing a plan, you can identify someone that you would like to be contacted if an emergency occurs and you are unable to provide care.

The plan is for carers who are depended on as the main source of support for a person. Once completed, the plan is held on our case management system within the records of the person being cared for.

How to apply 

You can apply for a Family Carer Emergency Plan by completing an application form. There's no charge for this service. 

Submit the form by emailing it to customer.first@suffolk.gov.uk.

If you need to speak to an adviser to go through the form with you, contact adult social care (Customer First). 

After you have completed the form, you will receive a key fob with the contact details for Customer First and the ID number of the person you care for, in the event that the plan needs to be activated.

How does the plan work?

In an emergency, you should contact Customer First. They're available 24 hours a day. 

Give them the ID number, and they will get in touch with the contact listed on the plan.

Caring for someone at risk of getting lost

Thinking ahead and completing a ‘Herbert Protocol’ form can help you find them should they disappear.

The form can be handed to the police to reduce the time taken in gathering this information and inform the investigation to locate them more quickly, safeguard them more effectively, and return them to safety before any harm can come to them.

If you are a family carer, relative or a care provider we recommend you complete the form and keep it home in case the person you care for disappears:

Read more about missing people and Herbert Protocol on suffolk.police.uk.